All but a few states have formally adopted Common Core, the state-driven campaign to improve educational outcomes for K-12 students by meeting common academic benchmarks, particularly in math and English. But the program has faced criticism across the spectrum. The basic flaw of Common Core, according to education policy expert and Independent Institute Research Fellow Vicki Alger, is that its standards are “weak, costly, politicized, and unconstitutional.” In recent pieces in The Beacon, she has focused on two problems with Common Core: the political overtones of some of its reading recommendations, and the program’s threat to student and family privacy.
Common Core reading recommendations, Alger contends, include material that is pro-Obamacare and pro-union; an example of the latter was woven into the civics curriculum for third graders. But Common Core even politicizes math standards. Stanford mathematics professor James Milgram, who served as a member of the Common Core validation committee, complains that scholastic rigor was “compromised for the sake of political buy-in.” The academic content of Common Core is a major worry, but not the only cause for concern.
Alger notes that civil libertarians are increasingly anxious about Common Core’s threat to student and family privacy. Under a law called FERPA—the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act—private contractors, consultants, and other non-government personnel may become privy to data about a student’s family income, religion, student disciplinary records, and parents’ political affiliations. Last month, Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) pressed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to explain why, in at least one state, student Social Security numbers were given to a private data collection company. But “as interesting as any official response would be, there is still no legitimate, much less Constitutional, reason for the federal government to be spying on American citizens or their children,” Alger concludes.
I remember the seeds of this being planted in MY Fourth Grade (1961-62). Along with a universal dumbing down. Spelling words in my Eighth Grade were the same as in my THIRD! And my Fifth Grade teacher (of whom I was very fond) pooh-poohing The Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights studies.
As the bumper sticker states: If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher. If you can support the proletariat’s battle over the bourgeoisie, thank a Common Core Teacher!
”I’m shocked, Shocked!”
h/t Brock Townsend, Free North Carolina, EAG News
N.Y.P.D. has begun sending out the following form letter to registered legal owners of (now illegal, under NY State law) firearms.
AND, there is a push in Congress for the passage of a ‘general warrants’ measure, to make it easier to search homes of legal gun owners to determine if there firearms are ‘stored safely’. (as they already do in Massachusetts!, unwarranted…)
These ‘general warrants’ were proposed by the N.S.A.(!), for the express purpose of (legitimizing actions already taken in) bulk (telephone) data collection. You know, to keep us ‘safe’.
WASHINGTON — THE framers of the Constitution declared that government officials had no power to seize the records of individual Americans without evidence of wrongdoing, and they embedded this principle in the Fourth Amendment. The bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records — so-called metadata — by the National Security Agency is, in our view, a clear case of a general warrant that violates the spirit of the framers’ intentions. This intrusive program was authorized under a secret legal process by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, so for years American citizens did not have the knowledge needed to challenge the infringement of their privacy rights. (NYT Opinion Pages, November 25, 3013)
…Each of these proposals represents real and meaningful reform, which we believe would have fulfilled the purpose of protecting our security and liberty. Each was rejected by the committee, in some cases by a single vote. (IBID) (emphasis Guffaw)
Nothing was mentioned about limiting governmental power of these proposed ‘safety’ measures to just wiretapping.
How many times in recorded history have governments given power back to the people, after having first usurped it? I’ll give you a hint – NONE, without benefit of revolution.
I could probably list about 75 ‘safety’ measures taken by the government ‘for our benefit’ since ‘Dan Cooper’ hijacked a plane for ransom on my birthday in 1971, beginning the steady erosion of THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN. But what would be the point?
I’m pretty certain most of my readers tend to agree with me on liberty issues, or they wouldn’t be my readers. So, I’m preaching to the choir, yet again.
Do YOU see a pattern here? I f’n DO!
h/t Random Nuclear Strikes
Or at least monitoring you some more while you do…
The Silicon Graybeard shares with us a story of a (
Soviet Russian) immigrant makes ‘good’.
Or at least brings lessons from the High Presidium.
You know the story going around that gubmints want to put black boxes on cars, so they can tax by the mile? Turns out the guy behind that used to work for the Moscow Metro Corporation, and was a transportation planner in the former USSR. Imagine that.
Hasan Ikhrata, is now the Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). A communist in California government? Now, that’s really easy to imagine.
(source - apparently a greenie web site) Why black boxes? Drivers are using more fuel efficient cars, and driving them fewer miles, so the gas tax isn’t raising the revenues it once did. Why not raise the gas taxes? I’d think raising taxes on gas would tend to cut consumption. Then, again, taxing driving would tend to limit that behavior. It sounds like they want to limit driving, but still keep drivers in conventional cars.
NAW, THAT would never happen!
We defeated the communists, didn’t we?
Alex Jones’ Info Wars shares with us about the following, straight from the (Phoenix) Mayor’s mouth.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called a news conference Wednesday to suggest there was nothing otherworldly about a Police Department camera truck filming tailgaters at an Arizona State University football game over the weekend.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who was tailgating, took to his Facebook page and the media this week to express his outrage at seeing a Phoenix police truck that he said resembled alien craft from The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. DiCiccio said, “It’s just one more level of intrusion by the government looking into our personal lives.”
Apparently, Phoenix Police, with the assistance of Homeland Security (!), was filming tailgaters at an Arizona State University football game over the weekend. In Tempe, where the University and stadium are located.
Not Phoenix. Not Tempe (or ASU Police). And with the assistance of Homeland Security. You know, those federal guys.
Our tax dollars at work, people.
Good thing they don’t look into our personal records, or cell phone conversations or emails, or financial transactions!
Much of the time it’s tedium: avoiding falling asleep and practicing stretching one’s bladder when needed. (I know, TMI.)
SO… here I am, on a ‘domestic’, doing surveillance. I hate domestics, because unlike corporations or lawyers, they don’t offer repeat business. One job and you’re done. And, most private PI firms (read clients) cannot afford teams of agents with walkie-talkies. So, it’s one lowly guy, baking in the Sun, waiting for something to happen.
And finally, something does! The couple under surveillance (the errant husband and his girlfriend) get in his car and head out. Somewhere. Perhaps a motel or a dance club (?) And off I go in cold pursuit, looking for something exciting.
And they go to the nearby Kmart. Not very exciting. And I park and follow them in. On a Saturday afternoon. Zillions of shoppers – where are THEY? OH, THERE they are! And I’m walking through the store, keeping them in sight, but at a distance. But. close enough to see if they buy condoms.
Is this fun, or what?
Of course, my focus is on the ‘happy’ couple, and I miss the other happy couple walking up to me to shake my hand! My best friends’ parents, also shopping! Not knowing I’m ‘on-the-job’.
So, it’s a perfunctory handshake, a hello and an explanation sotto voce (because the ‘happy couple’ was in earshot, that I was on-the-job and couldn’t stay and chat.)
And back to work. Back to the parking lot, the car and back to his house. (his wife (my client) was at work.) No they didn’t buy any condoms of lingerie.
Later, I called my best friend to have him alert his parents I wasn’t being rude, intentionally.
What happened? The husband got back together with his wife, and, as she’d already paid me, neglected to tell me. And later, they led me on a wild-goose chase on their dime!
At least it was some excitement for a while. At least it was on their dime.
“YOU’RE SOAKING IN IT” – Madge the Manicurist
(Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid (c) 1968)
So, in last night’s Presidential Press Conference, The President got all folksy and compared openness with U.S. intelligence domestic operations to his wife checking on his veracity about doing the dishes in the White House (!)
Seriously? We’re soaking in it!
How many other serious situations has he out-and-out lied to us about?
We’re up to our elbows in domestic surveillance at all levels, federal, military, homeland ‘security’, law enforcement, private security and all manner of private intel gathering, and data mining and he thinks if he goes all Mark Twain/Will Rogers on us we’ll not continue to hold he and his Cloward and Piven, Leninist minions feet to the fire?
I know not what course others may take, but, as for me, stay out of my garbage, my cell phone, my email, my neighbors opinions of me, everything, without a properly-obtained, Constitutionally-based warrant! I’m sick of my government spying on me for my own good! - Guffaw (apologies to Patrick Henry)
It took the Federal Government taking Associated Press telephone records to FINALLY get the attention of the Fifth Estate that THIS Administration is up to no good. Guess they know where their bread is buttered.
I could go on, but, I would overdose on my antacids. And that would probably bring me to the attention of the FDA…
And I wouldn’t want THAT.
Senator Rand Paul reportedly received a self-described short answer to his question of the United States Attorney General regarding whether or not ANY President could order a drone attack on a U.S. citizen within the geographic confines of the U.S.
The short answer – NO.
Of course, if there is to be a long legal interpretation of this response it remains to be seen. After all, it might depend on what the meaning of
IS NO is.
And, our esteemed A.G. obviously arrived at the top law enforcement post by understanding the law and keeping to the straight and narrow. (sarcasm font)
The Daily Caller recounts that as a student at Columbia, Eric Holder took part in “a five-day occupation of an abandoned Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) headquarters,” which Holder and his fellow radicals demanded be redesignated the “Malcolm X Lounge.” Columbia, consistent with its usual practices at the time, went along with the radicals’ demands.
The Black Student Organization’s web site said that “in 1970, a group of armed black students [the SAAS] seized the abandoned ROTC office.” The “armed” part might have been wishful thinking, but Holder’s radicalism is not in doubt. On another occasion, he participated in the occupation of a dean’s office.
In March 1970 the SAAS released a statement supporting twenty-one Black Panthers charged with plotting to blow up department stores, railroad tracks, a police station and the New York Botanical Gardens.
And then there’s the pardoning of the two Weathermen terrorists.
And Fast and Furious leading to a Citation for Contempt of Congress…and ignoring New Black Panther voter intimidation.
His racism (anti-White bias).
His supporters state he’s only been ‘leveling the playing field’ for his race; the same argument The President uses. So all this is okay, right?
Answer me this: How does a man get to the level of chief law enforcement officer of the United States after hanging with unrepentant radicals and domestic terrorists in his college years? How is such a person vetted?
Some would suggest these questions also apply to his boss. I’m told that’s nothing more than guilt by association, though.
h/t Powerline, Fire Andrea Mitchell site
Most of us have have seen foot surveillance. At least, on the big screen…
Not too much in the movies – because it’s boring! Notice, they rarely film foot surveillance scenes outside of congested city centers. That’s because it’s next to impossible. If you are the only two persons on the block, it’s bound to be obvious.
Back in the day, I was tasked to perform surveillance on a residential home in central Phoenix. A couple blocks South of a main street, in the middle of town. Nice, older neighborhood. Built in the 40s and 50s – I know, not old for you New Englanders!
The problem was, with little or no automobile traffic, scant foot traffic, and many folks at home during the day, parking near the home was a big red flag. You were bound to have someone call the police on you if you were just sitting alone in your car for any length of time.
My solution was to park a block away, at a business (hoping I wouldn’t be towed!) and walk by the residence, every 45 minutes or so. First one direction, then the other. Changing sides of the street. And taking breaks in my car between walks. Not exactly as exciting as Bullitt or The French Connection. To an outside observer, it would have looked odd or silly. I felt odd and silly.
No one came out of their house and confronted me. No one called the cops. The subject never left his home for me to follow on foot or by car. Eight boring hours.
Thank the gods I was paid hourly!
Woulda been more fun if I’d walked as in The Ministry of Silly Walks.
h/t You Tube
With the ubiquitous-ness of digital cameras (usually attached to cellular telephones) it’s only logical that the civilian populus would film any actions taken by the constabulary in public. Think of Rodney King – squared.
One would think this is only fair, as most populated areas are now replete with cameras either filming the public willy-nilly, or those privately-owned that may be accessed, like ATM cameras. AND, police dash cams. And it would make sense to keep such actions free, as open government is a desirable thing.
Not to mention cases such as Kyllo v. United States and Boyd v. United States, which reaffirmed the English Common Law which said the eye cannot trespass.
Well, forget all that…
As more and more of the public are photographing and filming police activity, more States are acting to suppress the right of a free people to record such actions. Why is that, if the government is acting within the law?
Outrageous and disgusting. Expect more of this coming to your town down the road. Because governments
never rarely* expand to promote individual freedom.
h/t Miss Lisa, wirecutter